3 Best Side Imaging Fish Finders (with Tips for Buying)

Side imaging fish finders and down imaging fish finders are new technologies that can give you an ever better view down below. If you’re ready to make the leap to side imaging, we’ll save you some time and give you our picks for the best side imaging fish finder available right now.

There are millions of fish in the sea (or lake, or river). There are also too many options for Side Imaging fish finders out on the market. Side Imaging is the latest technology when it comes to a fish finder. Different brands call this technology differently. “Side Imaging” is the term used by Humminbird and for the sake of this article, it will be referred to as such unless if it is specific to another brand.

To help you make a decision faster, we have four recommendations of what are the best Side Imaging Fish Finders you can try.

 

Garmin Striker 7SV

If you are on a budget, this one is for you. This will cost you less than $460.The Garmin Striker 7SV is an affordable option that can deliver great performance. It has an easy enough interface so you will be catching tons of fish in no time.

The clear scanning sonar in this device gives you a near-photographic image of the surroundings of your boat. It will show you a detailed representation of the fish and possible obstacles in the water. The device also uses CHIRP sonar. It will give you more detailed information by using multiple frequencies.

This has a built-in flasher mode will allow you to view your sonar data in the classic flasher format. This will come in handy when you go ice fishing or vertical jogging. You can also go back to locations where you found the most fish by marking it using the waypoint map.


Pros:

  • Easy user interface
  • Shows bright and clear images
  • Has IPX7 water resistance rating
  • Available in 3.5, 5, and 7 in. display sizes
  • Includes a transducer

Cons:

  • No SD card slot
  • No maps

 

Humminbird Helix 5 SI

You can fish in shallow or deep waters when you use the Humminbird Helix 5 SI. It has a 5 in. LED display and will cost you less than $535. The images it will display will also be photo-like because it has a 480 x 800 resolution with a color depth of 256.

With both side and down imaging, this device is truly affordable. It has a Dual Beam Plus sonar that will give you great image data. If you are a natural adventurer, the GPS Chartplotting with built-in Unimap cartography will come in handy.

This device has a micro SD card slot and has a 4,000-watt power output. With this device, you can save your maps and waypoint. With a 4,000-watt power output and a 1,500 ft. depth capacity, it is truly worth your money.


Pros:

  • Has a micro SD slot
  • Has maps
  • Shows high-resolution images
  • IPX5 water resistance rating
  • Includes a transducer

Cons:

  • Limited data when in freshwater
  • Have to purchase additional maps

 

Garmin Echomap Chirp 74SV

This $750 SideVü Fish Finder will give you a powerful sonar technology for your next fishing trip. As part of the SV series, has a built-in CHIRP traditional sonar, CHIRP Clearer, and CHIRP SideVü capabilities. It will give you a wider range of data in a clear and bright display.

This device has preloaded US Bluechart G2 charts, US LakeVü HD maps, Canada LakeVü HD maps, or a worldwide base map. It will also let you customize your own map through Garmin QuickDraw. Create your own map of any body of water but with a limit of 1 ft. contour lines.


Pros:

  • Includes a transducer
  • Has a bright and clear display
  • Comes with preloaded maps
  • Easy user interface

Cons:

  • Manual has less information
  • Not touchscreen

 

Humminbird Helix 9 SI

If money is not an issue and you just want the best features on your device, the Humminbird 9 SI is for you. It has 360 Imaging that lets you isolate your sweep from your whole surroundings. It has both the Side Imaging and Down Imaging Sonar.

The images are displayed on a high-resolution widescreen. The 9 in. LED backlit display is designed to be easily viewed even under harsh sunlight. It also has a built-in ContourXD map with GPS and Ethernet connectivity. Plus, it has two card readers.


Pros:

  • Has Side and Down Imaging
  • Has up to 8,000 watts output power
  • Includes a unit cover
  • The software can be upgraded
  • Includes a transducer

Cons:

  • More complicated controls
  • No CHIRP Sonar

 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Side Imaging Fish Finder

 

Your Boat

If you think you can just buy any kind of fish finder, you are wrong. Not all devices work on every kind of boat. Some are more suited for others. If you buy the wrong one, it’s either you buy a different one or have it modified.

 

Screen Features

The wider the screen, the better. If you choose to have a bigger screen, the information and details it will display will be easier to view. The resolution will also make the display clearer and easier to read. This is important because you will be looking at the device to see your surroundings.

 

Transducer

Some units come with a transducer while some do not. A transducer is important for fish finders because it is the one that determines the location of the fish and shows it to your device. If the fish finder you choose already comes with one, then that is convenient. If it doesn’t, then you will have to purchase a compatible one separately.

 

Conclusion

Compared to traditional sonars, Side Imaging is better at showing your underwater surroundings. It gives you more details and locates more fishes. Side Imaging devices have more coverage and have clearer detection. It will be able to determine whether what’s near you are fish, objects, or structures.

If you plan to upgrade your fish finding technology, Side Imaging fish finders are the way to go. In this article are some of the best out there in the market. Hopefully, this will guide you to an easier decision-making.

 

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